Sunday, 24 June 2018

Summer Crushes

Long time no see bbs! I'll be back with book reviews and other words on stuff soon but for now here's a playlist of songs I am enjoying marching around to in the sunshine this summer. This post brought to you by getting my personalty back and actually listening to music at all ever again! (Yes there are three Sigrid songs on there don't @ me.) Here's a few vids but whole playlist listed below. Ya welcome. 

Spotify playlist link HERE

Apple Music Playlist below:

Sunday, 18 February 2018

Review: The Truth and Lies of Ella Black by Emily Barr

The Truth and Lies of Ella Black is the second book I have read by Emily Barr. The One Memory of Flora Banks came out about a year ago and it was a book I greatly enjoyed, with its snowy remote setting. (You can read my review of that here.The Truth and Lies of Ella Black focusses on teenager Ella, who struggles with her dark side while trying to appear picture perfect to her parents. When she is taken out of school one afternoon completely unannounced and flown to Brazil with her parents, Ella understandably has a lot of questions, none of which are being answered. There are secrets in her past that Ella knows nothing about, but while on the run she begins to slowly uncover the truth. 

We spend much of the book in the heat of Rio as Ella struggles to make sense of her life so far. It's a far cry from the snowy north of The One Memory of Flora Banks, but there are similarities in the unravelling of lies surrounding both Flora and Ella. Both girls' parents have lied in a bid to protect their daughters and both girls end up breaking out on their own, battling against their own brains to figure out what is true and what has been fabricated in their lives.

Much like Flora, Ella's journey is made all the more easy with the kindness of strangers and it seems luck is on her side to keep danger mostly out of her path. This is maybe a little unrealistic, and the same criticism could be applied to Ella's instant falling in love with an American boy from her hotel with whom she spends one night out partying. However the stakes feel high and so all emotions feel justifiably heightened, with the tension and peril of the plot keeping the pace up all the way through. I found myself wanting to get back to the story and quite honestly thinking to myself "right, what is this idiot doing to do next" as Ella went from bad decision to bad decision. 

I really enjoy Emily Barr's writing, so I'm looking forward to what comes next. She was recently in India doing research for the next book so I think we are safe to assume we'll be getting another great use of an interesting location. 

I received a copy of The Truth and Lies of Ella Black from Penguin Random House, which was very nice of them! This is an honest review, promise. 

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Review!: The Sacrifice Box by Martin Stewart

The Sacrifice Box is the second book by Martin Stewart. I loved his first book Riverkeep, the review of which you can read here, so I was very keen to get my dirty mitts on this one! I went along to the book launch in Glasgow, heard Martin speak about the writing process and read from the first chapter, annnd I got my book signed ooh. It was nice to finally meet Martin (he warned me that this one is very different from Riverkeep!) and join in the excitement of The Sacrifice Box.

The Sacrifice Box is set on a small British island in the early to mid '80s. We follow clever teenage boy Sep, who longs to go to boarding school on the main land and leave behind his lonely friendless island life. He is no longer friends with the gang from the halcyon preteen summer of '82; popular guy Mack, dimwitted Arkle, farmer's daughter Lamb, and bully's target Hadley. The gang are brought back together after the offerings they made to a mysterious stone box deep in the woods that summer seem to be coming back to haunt them, along with a pair of scary crows.

This book draws on nostalgia for all things analogue- there are plenty of mixtape cassettes- and teenage horror classics- there is a good portion of biking around through forests. It has been compared to E.T. and The Goonies and to more recent 80s nostalgia horror adventures It and Stranger Things. The Sacrifice Box definitely stands up to these comparisons, delivering a suspenseful, gore-filled, scary teenage gang horror adventure. It reminded me of Trollhunters by Guillermo del Toro and Daniel Kraus too.

Martin Stewart's writing is so vivid in its description that you find yourself right there in the stuffy classroom with Sep feeling the tension gather, or winding along the path deep into the forest with the gang ready for a zombie animal to jump out at you at any moment. The cast of characters are just as vivid and fleshed out, and I rooted for them to make it through the night as a gang without getting said flesh viciously mauled by zombie animals or leaving their powerful friendship behind again. 

I really enjoyed this one and I am intrigued to see where Martin takes his writing next!

A few pics from the Glasgow book launch at the Waterstones on Sauchiehall Street:

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Books I read in December! Superpowerless, Moonrise, The Argonauts, Grief is the Thing With Feathers,Winter Magic, Lumberjanes

Hiya hiya hiya Happy New Year. I've got a nice December reading round up for youuuu ooooh. Up first I read Superpowerless by Chris Priestley, a story of a teenage boy's struggle with grief and escape into his superhero alter ego. There are some very good comic strip pages between chapters too. Next up I read Moonrise by the wonderful Sarah Crossan. I loved one of her previous books, One, written entirely in verse. Moonrise is written in the same way, following the brother of a death row inmate as he navigates his sibling's final weeks. It's safe to say it is pretty intense! I have been reading The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson in my lunch breaks for a little while and I finished it in December. I have a friend who is basically evangelical about it and I thought it was pretty great too. It was about time I picked Max Porter's Grief is the Thing With Feathers off my tbr pile. It was very strange and every bit as good as all the rave reviews said it was. With Christmas approaching I picked out Winter Magic, a collection of short stories curated by Abi Elphinstone, which was perfect festive fireside reading. And to round the year off, I snuck in Lumberjanes Vol. 3 to make it to my reading target of 60 books! 

Superpowerless- Chris Priestley

Moonrise- Sarah Crossan

The Argonauts- Maggie Nelson

Grief is the Thing With Feathers- Max Porter

Winter Magic- Abi Elphinstone

Lumberjanes Vol. 3- Noelle Stevenson

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Books I read in November!: The Amber Spyglass, La Belle Sauvage, Genuine Fraud, Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race

Hiyyyyya! Starting the year by being behind on last year's blogposts woohoo! I better crack on with it so I can get on to the December reads too and then 2017 best of then some individuals reviews eeeek!

So in November I continued my His Dark Materials reread and finished reading The Amber Spyglass, which was brilliant and I enjoyed being back with all those wheel creatures and Dr Mary Malone and seeing Lyra and Will through to the very troublesome end of their journey! I could finally move on to The Book of Dust Volume One: La Belle Sauvage and it was wonderful. I loved Malcolm's world built up around the pub and visiting the nuns and school and on his trusty boat. So much of the plot movement was through the urgency to change the many smelly nappies of a baby and somehow it worked so well. Very much anticipating the volume two! As you might imagine I was a bit stuck with what to read next after 4 Philip Pullman books in a row, but luckily I had the newest E. Lockhart book on kindle. Genuine Fraud was gripping and clever and kept me guessing the whole way through. I also listened to Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge on audiobook, which was immensely educating and an all round essential read for everyone and probably white people in particular!

The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman

La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman

Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart

Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge

See you soon for some December reads and mooooooooore!